Why Units of Alliance Resource Partners Jumped 12% at the Open Today

What happened

Units of coal-focused master limited partnership (MLP) Alliance Resource Partners (NASDAQ: ARLP) rose just shy of 12% in the first half hour of trading on Oct. 26. From there, however, Alliance started to trend lower, with the units up just 1% or so at roughly 2 p.m. EDT. There's good reasons for both of these moves.

So what

Leading off Alliance Resource's third-quarter earnings release were the facts that revenue increased 39.4%, EBITDA jumped 146.4%, and net income was higher by 158.3%. Those are incredible numbers for a business that mines coal, which is a largely out-of-favor energy source these days. The fly in the ointment here is that these increases are sequential from the second quarter. That quarter was impacted by the global economic shutdowns used to slow the spread of COVID-19. In other words, the third quarter showed that Alliance's business was recovering from the worst of the pandemic hit. To be fair, that is good news.

A coal miner in a mine

Image source: Getty Images.

However, reading a bit further into the release, investors quickly find that year-over-year third-quarter results weren't all that great. Compared with the same period in 2019, revenue was lower by 23.5% and net income fell 30%. EBITDA was down by a relatively modest 3.5%, but that only softens what is otherwise a pretty ugly blow. The main reasons for these not-so-great numbers were falling coal demand and prices. In other words, the long-term downtrend in the coal market has not abated. That's not great news.

Now what

Times have been tough in the coal sector for years as key customers, largely utilities, have shifted toward natural gas and clean energy sources like wind and solar power. Alliance has been managing the industry change in relative stride compared with peers, many of which have succumbed to bankruptcy. That said, the MLP isn't paying a distribution, and results -- while improved sequentially -- are still not very good reading. It's little wonder that the quick burst of excitement cooled off as the trading day wore on.

10 stocks we like better than Alliance Resource Partners
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Alliance Resource Partners wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of October 20, 2020

Reuben Gregg Brewer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More